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Becoming A Nation Through Forgetting The Roots

716 words - 3 pages

After the collapse of the Roman Empire and then the Charlemagne’s empire, most of the European countries such as England, France, Germany and Russia had become modern nation states. However, there were some countries that could not have succeeded to become a modern nation state, such as the Ottoman Empire. In order to explain these different processes, some important theories including race, language, religion and geography factors are suggested. In contrast of these theories, Ernst Renan (1882) argued that ‘forgetting’ and ‘remembering’ are at the core of nationhood. According to him, a group of united people become a nation a society by forgetting their different roots and remembering ...view middle of the document...

For another example, ‘France’ which derived from the minority of Franks became the name of country. Consequently, while people were becoming a nation with unification as a result of “means of brutality” (p.158), they forgot where they came from. They became a part of the common culture of the nation. For example, today any French people do not know whether they are Burgundian or Visigoth.
An important example of this argument is the Ottoman Empire situation. They followed a policy that separated people according to their religions and origins. For example, even today there are five or six different communities that are very different from each other in Saloniki. This situation can be argued as one of the main reasons of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire due to the consequences of the French Revolution. This danger was realized toward the end of the empire by the Committee of Union and Progress, which was trying to save the empire from collapse. Initially, they tried to create an “only nation is Ottoman” idea and to unify all communities under this identity. Since the cultures and “remembering” of these communities were very different, this attempt could not have been...

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